Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will launch Windows Server 2012 in September, and has already launched a "Switch to Hyper-V" campaign that attacks VMware (NYSE: VMW) and trains partners on virtualization migrations. Microsoft is also talking up cloud OS development, Windows Azure cloud, Windows Phone 8, Dynamics CRM and vertical market strategies at the Worldwide Partner Conference 2012 (WPC12) keynote in Toronto. On stage first: Satya Nadella, president, Server and Tools Business. Here's a minute by minute update...

First up: Nadella
  • Breakthrough year for Azure, and Microsoft will offer some updates when the company announces results in a few weeks.
  • He joined Microsoft in 1992. Two constants: Partner-led business model with broad platform-based software approach. "We will always be partner-led."
  • Cloud OS has two elements: Extract away the hardware to allow developers to focus on the applications. Unit of compute is now compute server, storage capacity and network capacity all together at massive scale at one or multiple datacenters. So you need a truly distributed operating system.
  • Private clouds: 73% of companies using or planning.
  • Data: every five years, data grows by 10X.
  • 64 processors per VM and a full terabyte of memory per VM = Windows Server 2012.
  • Total I/Os per second with Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012: three times that of VMware, Microsoft claims.
  • Windows Server 2012 is a no-brainer for cloud storage, Microsoft claimed. Copy 10GB of data in 10 seconds.
  • Brand new Windows Azure portal, which allows partners to manage on-premise and cloud virtual machines from a single pane of glass. (UPDATE: Check additional coverage on The VAR Guy and Talkin' Cloud for some clarification on what Microsoft is doing here. The bullet doesn't capture it quite right.)
Three pieces of news:
  • Windows Server 2012 to launch in September 2012.
  • High-density websites, virtual machine hosting and unified management portal on.
  • A Switch to Hyper-V strategy that positions Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V as a natural path away from VMware. The strategy is actually a training program that 40 partners have already completed as of WPC 2012.
Next Up: Kirill Tatarinov, President, Microsoft Business Solutions Division
  • Business Solutions is growing fast; there are 3,000 Microsoft Dynamics partners at the conference.
  • Well over $1 billion in revenue run rate and double-digit growth.
  • Slalom Consulting, Microsoft's Office 365 partner of the year, is earning kudos at the moment.
  • Microsoft claimed partners are taking market share from Oracle and other rivals... but there haven't been actual market share numbers shared onstage. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner will likely lead that attack during his keynote later this week, The VAR Guy believes.
  • 60 percent of new Dynamics CRM deployments are in the cloud.
  • There it is: First Big Data mention.
  • Microsoft is now 12 years into its business applications journey. "We're absolutely ready to address the needs of enterprises of any size."
Next Up: Laura Ipsen, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector
  • A "national plan" initiative aligns with the national agendas of 80 countries, working in a local way on each country agenda.
  • More than 120 million seats of Live EDU will shift to Office 365 for education, which is free to students, teachers and administrators.
  • Google ad model and Amazon low-cost model is not about putting customers first, she asserted.
  • Customer first and $9 billion in R&D will lead to Microsoft partner victory, she added.
  • Internet Explorer 10 will have "do not track" privacy setting turned on by default.
Next Up: Charles Thomas Gruhler, Technology Marketing Executive and Branding Strategist
On Stage Soon: I believe Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs (Update: Not sure if Smith ever made it to the stage. Microsoft showed some future technologies instead.)

What Microsoft will need to cover (this portion of blog was written before the keynote):
  • Windows Server 12: The company has already announced each Windows Server 12 release and the end of Windows Small Business Server. Killing SBS was a smart move to get partners focused on cloud migrations, The VAR Guy believes. But more positioning statements will emerge today. Plus, what's next for Hyper-V virtualization? Insights soon...
  • Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP: The VAR Guy wants to know how partners can build cloud solutions atop the CRM offering, in particular. Rather than just turning on cloud CRM for customers, how will Dynamics CRM Online evolve to support ISVs (independent software vendors)?
  • Windows Phone 8: Microsoft has scored points here for its multi-touch interface and the buyout of Perceptive Pixel, which makes big-screen multi-touch solutions. But... what can Microsoft possibly do to increase its smart phone market share? Details soon today...
  • Going Vertical: It sounds like we can expect some government and legal market updates from the software giant. The VAR Guy will be listening closely for vertical market developments.
That's it for now. Check our complete coverage at http://www.thevarguy.com/tag/wpc12.